Brady's latest comment about Bucs could be a jab at Patriots

/ by Darren Hartwell
Presented By Nissan

Tom Brady didn't miss a beat after leaving the New England Patriots last March, throwing 40 touchdown passes at age 43 while leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title.

But observant fans may have noticed a different Brady off the field.

Often guarded during media sessions with the Patriots, Brady has seemed more at ease since joining the Bucs -- especially during this offseason, where he took a shot at the team that snubbed him in 2020 free agency and cracked jokes with Joe Biden at the White House.

So, is there a correlation between a happier, more carefree Brady and his exodus from Bill Belichick and the Patriots last spring? That's what Brady seemed to suggest.

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"It's nice that I've found my voice more," Brady said recently, via ESPN's Jenna Laine. "I really enjoy being around my teammates, my coaches -- it's been a different environment. [I'm] just really enjoying the experience of playing football, playing with this group of guys."

Tampa Bay indeed is a completely different environment from New England. Exhibit A: Player-friendly head coach Bruce Arians gave Brady the day off Tuesday for his 44th birthday. Imagine Belichick telling a completely healthy Brady he can skip a valuable training camp session because it's his birthday?


That environment has its benefits, though. Brady's teammates -- notably fellow former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski -- believe this new version of the seven-time Super Bowl champion is great for team chemistry.

"It's great that he's showing that side," Gronkowski said, via Laine. "It's great for football, it's great for the fans. It's great for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"When you're playing a sport, you don't want to be uptight. You want to always be loose and ready to go, and it's just cool to see that side of him, doing all that activity, all the little silly comments, the jokes. It keeps everyone loose and on their toes. And it's fun too."

The fun-loving Gronkowski struggled to find joy during his final seasons with the Patriots, so you can read those comments as a slight dig at the atmosphere he experienced in New England. Brady would probably tell you he had plenty of fun winning six Super Bowls with the Patriots, but after the team's disappointing 2019 campaign, it sounds like the 20-year veteran was ready for a change.

He appears to have picked the perfect destination in Tampa Bay, where he can continue winning on the field while being more open off it. To that end, Brady is teaming up with Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray to host a weekly radio show on SiriusXM starting in September.